Spring Wheat Condition the Lowest Since 1988

June 22, 2021

Continued hot and dry weather across central, northern and western parts of the country last week led to another drop in good-to-excellent ratings for U.S. corn and soybeans, USDA NASS said in its weekly Crop Progress report on Monday.

NASS pegged corn condition at 65% good to excellent as of Sunday, June 20, down 3 percentage points from 68% the previous week. That followed a 4-percentage-point drop in corn's good-to-excellent rating during the week ended June 13. The crop's current rating is below 72% at the same time last year and is now the fourth-lowest rating in 12 years.

"Corn good-to-excellent ratings in Iowa were 56%, Illinois 64%, Indiana 70% and in Nebraska 83%," Noted DTN Senior Analyst Dana Mantini.

Soybean conditions also dropped last week, falling to 60% good to excellent -- down 2 percentage points from 62% the previous week. The crop's current rating is the lowest since 2012, Mantini said.

"Illinois soybeans are 66% in good-to-excellent condition, while Iowa is 57% and Minnesota is 51%," Mantini said. "Nebraska is the garden spot with soybeans rated at 83% good-to-excellent."

Soybean planting progress was still slightly ahead of normal at 97% complete versus the five-year average of 94%. Ninety-one percent of soybeans had emerged, 6 percentage points ahead of the five-year average of 85%. NASS pegged soybeans blooming at 5%, equal to both last year and the five-year average.

While the hot, dry weather put stress on row crops, it did appear to aid winter wheat harvesters, who picked up speed last week. Winter wheat harvest jumped ahead 13 percentage points during the week to reach 17% complete as of Sunday. That was still 10 percentage points behind last year's pace and 9 percentage points behind the five-year average of 26%.

"Kansas winter wheat is 13% harvested, down from its five-year average of 24%," noted DTN Lead Analyst Todd Hultman.

Winter wheat condition was rated 49% good to excellent, up 1 percentage point from 48% the previous week.

"Improvements in Montana, Idaho and Illinois outweighed lower ratings in South Dakota and the Pacific Northwest," Hultman said.

Heat and dryness in the Northern Plains also accelerated spring wheat development. Spring wheat headed jumped 19 percentage points last week to reach 27% as of Sunday. That is ahead of 11% last year and 9 percentage points ahead of the five-year average of 18%.

However, as DTN Contributing Analyst Elaine Kub pointed out in her column "Spring Wheat: Sticking Your Head Out Too Early Doesn't Pay" (https://www.dtnpf.com/…), "early" progress of the crop can sometimes be a warning sign of problems to come. Evidence of that could be seen in the 10-percentage-point drop in spring wheat's good-to-excellent rating from 37% the previous week to 27% good to excellent as of Sunday, June 20. The crop's current rating remains the lowest for this time of year since 1988.

"Big declines in spring wheat condition were posted in Minnesota, the Dakotas and Montana," Hultman said.

For more on how the spring wheat crop is faring, see "Cash Market Moves: Time to Give Spring Wheat Its Last Rites?" by DTN Basis Analyst Mary Kennedy at: https://www.dtnpf.com/….

The following are some other highlights from this week's Crop Progress report.

Sorghum planting progressed to 88%, just 1 percentage point behind the average. Sorghum headed was 16%, 2 percentage points behind average.

Cotton planting was 96% complete, 1 percentage point ahead of the five-year average. Cotton squaring was 21%, 4 percentage points behind average. Cotton setting bolls was 4%, equal to the average pace. Cotton condition was rated 52% good to excellent, up 7 percentage points from 45% the previous week.

Rice was 3% headed, behind the average pace. Rice condition was rated 74% good to excellent, up 2 percentage points from 72% the previous week.

Oats heading was at 63%. Oats were rated 39% in good-to-excellent condition, down 3 percentage points from 42% the previous week.

Source: DTN